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Rush Limbaugh & Cigars

J. Bennett Alexander Alexander's picture

J. Bennett Alexander

If you don’t know who Rush Limbaugh was, you should know that he is largely responsible for creating the success of talk radio, particularly conservative talk radio, and creating the blueprint for conservative talk television. Limbaugh had a highly rated late night TV show from 1992 to 1996, but he didn’t like being on TV. He much preferred radio and embodied the power it had to influence politics.

“When we started this, nobody in the industry said it would work,” Limbaugh said in 1994. “Now every radio station looks for the next great salvation in syndicated radio.”

By the end of his three-decade run, Limbaugh had an estimated audience of 43 million listeners over the course of three hours. Over his career, Limbaugh reportedly made more than $1 billion. And, beginning in the early 1990’s, Limbaugh celebrated every day with premium cigars.

Rush Limbaugh’s Favorite Cigar

Limbaugh was a large man, about 270 pounds, when he discovered cigars. His first was a pre-Castro Montecristo given to him at a friend’s home after dinner. He called the experience “absolutely stupendous.” After that, Limbaugh began to educate himself about cigars.

“I began to go to cigar stores and look at the different brands and cross-check what the stores had with what the ratings had been,” Limbaugh told Cigar Aficionado in 1994. “I tried different brands. And I guess, like a lot of people, I settled on Macanudos for a while. And then I really got into Ashtons. I thought they were very good. And occasionally I would try a Fonseca. Always a standard shape. I didn't much get into the robustos or the torpedoes or the pyramids.”

Limbaugh found cigars relaxing. Lured by the idea of replicating the taste of his first cigar, he became intrigued with Cuban brands.

“I was just dying to taste some of these Cubans. I was reading all about the Cohibas and the Hoyo de Monterrey Double Coronas. And then I went to London…with the same friend who had the pre-Castro Montecristos.''

He ventured into the legendary Sautter of Mount Street cigar store. The Hoyos were sold out, "but they had some Punch Double Coronas and Partagas Lusitanias and Montecristo No. 2's. And I tried them,” Limbaugh explained, then giving his opinion as if it were a fact that all should understand. “And I don't care what anybody says. I know it's a matter of taste, but as far as I'm concerned, this is something that not even the Communists have been able to screw up. It's the best tobacco in the world.”

The Limbaugh List

In 2006, about a dozen years into his love affair with cigars, Limbaugh put out a list on his website, a sort of guide, with his recommendations of what to smoke. He allowed that he smoked a variety of mild and strong cigars. He started by recommending Macanudo for beginners, but quickly jumped to saying, “Any cigar by Arturo Fuente is terrific,” especially the Don Carlos line. The list includes Ashton VSG, Diamond Crown, and La Flor Dominicana Double Ligero Chisel, for which Limbaugh had a distinct regard.

“Now, it is the strongest cigar I have ever smoked. Do you know how I use these? When I play in member guest golf tournaments, I take these and I give these in a sign of friendship and sportsmanship to my opponents, and it loops ’em out. They get dizzy; they play horribly for two or three holes and sometimes that’s all it takes.”

The list goes on to mention the Fuente Fuente Opus X “if you can find one.” He adds, “The Ashton Cabinet Selection is another great cigar.”

Limbaugh himself was unapologetic about his preference for large Cuban cigars. He would often be seen puffing on a Partagas Lusitania or a Ramon Allones Gigante. He had a lot of cigars that he kept in 12 large humidors at his home.

“They’re big and beautiful. Each holds 200 cigars.”

The End of an Era

Limbaugh had numerous health problems in later life. He had an episode during which he was addicted to opioids. He had auditory problems that rendered him effectively deaf until he got implants to restore partial hearing. In January of 2020, Limbaugh was diagnosed with lung cancer. He made his last broadcast on February 2, 2021. On February 4, as a guest of President Donald Trump, Limbaugh attended the State of the Union address where he was presented with the Presidential Medal of Freedom by Melania Trump. Limbaugh passed away on February 17 at the age of 70.

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